When I Grow Up I Want To Be Strong, Fit & Fast

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 I’m not ashamed to admit that when it comes to training I’m a numbers chaser. 

I used to have an obsession with wanting to weigh 135lbs.  The only logic I could attribute to this is because it’s my favourite division (bantamweight) in WMMA.  Infact for some reason I seem to have a recurring dream that I fight Ronda Rousey for her title belt and I finish her off with either a flying armbar which makes a nice change from her ripping off her opponents arms via armbar or I knock her out unconscious.  Of course neither of these things will ever happen which is just as well because I like my arms as they are, still attached and working perfectly!  If you want to see what Rousey does to her opponents check out the first time she fought Miesha Tate, but be warned, this video is not for the squeamish!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elX_h-4VrP4

Another number that I’ve been chasing is to get down to 15% body fat.  Yet again my logic for wanting to reach this is because I read somewhere that it’s the ‘magic’ number when your abs will start to appear.  However, 15% body fat will look different on everyone even though it’s the same number.  So if I did manage to reach 15% and I wasn’t happy with how I looked what number would I then look to try and reach?  12%?  That puts me into the territory for competing in a figure competition, but what if I’m still not happy with 12% and I don’t feel I’m lean enough?  Do I go even lower?

After speaking to a few friends who are professionals and my peers in the health and fitness industry I have decided to change the way I think and tweak my goals. 

When it comes to exercise and our reasons for doing it, many of us put too much emphasis on how much weight we want to lose, or what weight we would like to be and for people who are more serious about training than your average gym goer we do look at wanting to reach a certain body fat percentage.  There’s nothing wrong with this, if this is how you want to measure your progress and subsequent success that is your choice.  I have realised that for me, this is not the mindset I should be focusing on.

Last year I made really great progress in my strength and conditioning.  The weights I was lifting doubled throughout the year, infact some of my lifts even trebled.  This got me to thinking that my goals for 2014 are to continue on the path to be strong, fit and fast.  This may sound too generic but I want to be able to have some kind of measurement to see if I have been able to meet my goals so I’m still using numbers but they are now going to be how heavy I can lift, how many reps I can do (I am determined to master pull ups this year!) and how many seconds can I shave off my fastest times.  I think these will be better for me.

It also takes the pressure off myself trying to reach a body fat percentage that may not even be healthy for me.  I’m very mindful that if I try to get too lean I may suffer from amenorrhea which I definitely don’t want to happen.  I recently heard about ‘Female Athlete Triad’ which is a series of three interrelated conditions that exist on a continuum of severity, which includes:

Energy deficit/disordered eating

Menstrual disturbances/amenorrhea

Bone loss/osteoporosis

The female triad can affect many athletes.  I look at female athletes as inspiration, but wasn’t aware of this condition, although I did know that if your body fat drops below a certain percentage that your periods stop but didn’t actually realise how severe it was until I started to do a bit of research.

I train because I want to be fit, strong and healthy.  My goal from training is not to suffer from any of the three issues listed above.   So I’m hoping that now I’m not going to chase an ‘ideal’ body fat number that I can start working towards my strong, fit & fast goals and I will let my body reach the body fat percentage it wants to be whilst still being healthy.  I’ll keep you all posted on my progress.

If you want to read more about Female Athlete Triad you can go to www.femaleathletetriad.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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